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PM’s relative nominated for WB post

December 14, 2012

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. — File photo/Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Dec 14: The government has designated the prime minister’s son-in-law, Raja Azeem-ul-Haque, as an executive director of World Bank, according to a senior official.

Mr Haque will replace Javed Talat — a former finance secretary who was appointed to the position about eight years ago by the Musharraf administration.

Mr Talat has completed two terms in the position and was given a one-year extension that expired about two months ago.

The finance ministry had opposed Mr Haque’s nomination even though the summary for his appointment was moved by the Economic Affairs Division. Ultimately, the finance ministry had to give in to the wishes of the Prime Minister Secretariat.

The Pakistani nominee for the World Bank post will have to win endorsements from six other countries because he will represent seven nations and deal with billions of dollars meant for bank’s programs and development projects.

The prime minister of Pakistan is the designating authority for the bank post representing Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Algeria, Morocco, Ghana and Tunisia.

The posts of executive director and alternate executive directors pertaining to the seven nations are rotated between Pakistan and Algeria every two years. The Algerian alternate executive director was appointed about two months ago.

Pakistan’s representative will perform duties as executive director for two years and then become an alternate executive director.

Some government officials had been critical of Mr Haque’s nomination because of his ‘quick promotions’ within a few years from grade 18 to 21.

Normally, only senior officials are sent on such lucrative assignments after considerable exposure to domestic, regional and global economic issues.

The officials said the selection for such an important position should have been made through a competitive process.

The Prime Minister Secretariat, however, did not agree as it believed that Mr Haque was a competent person and possessed the education and experience required for the post.

Raja Azeem, an officer of the Income Tax Group, was working in grade 18 when the PPP government came into power more than four years ago. He left this job and was hired by the Employees Old-age Benefit Institution in grade 20 about two years ago.

Soon after Mr Ashraf assumed the office of prime minister, he was elevated to grade 21 and posted in the Prime Minister Secretariat.

The World Bank post provides about $225,000 per year in salary, excluding perks and privileges. The alternate executive director gets an annual salary of about $200,000, in addition to similar perks.